Dawgs Put Together Blow-Out Win Over Portland
(Courtesy of Husky Digest Contributor Jason McCleary)
When Coach Lorenzo Romar addressed the media this past week after the Georgetown loss he stated that someone else besides Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas need to score. The Dawgs did just that and put a beating on the Portland Pilots, 89-54. Quincy, Isaiah and Scott Suggs all put double digits on the board, but every player who stepped on the court except Abdul Gaddy and walk-on Brendan Sherrer scored for the Dawgs.
The first half of play was the best basketball display the Huskies have put on this year, reminiscing of the old Dawg days of Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Will Conroy and Bobby Jones. Isaiah Thomas had his best game of the year and didn’t doing it by putting up 30 points. Thomas handled the ball well all night and the precise way that he seemed to value and measure each shot, drive and defensive opportunity was inspiring. He looked like a player that is ready to make a case for himself as an All-American.
The Pilots came out flat shooting an overall percentage of 37.9% compared to UW’s 54.8% shooting percentage. Portland really couldn’t get anything together with the ball hawking defense the Dawgs hounded them with. The Dawgs forced the Pilots to 22 turnovers and capitalized with 35 points off of them.
Romar felt it was because of his teams’ ability to concentrate.
“Defensively, a team like that, the way they shoot the three, to hold them to 23% [on three-pointers] and hold them 34% shooting with 22 turnovers, I thought our guys did a really good job of concentrating on the defensive end.”
Perhaps it was just a simple case of lack of discipline over the past few weeks for Washington. According to Quincy, this past week when they made mistakes in practice there was a consequence.
“We had to run a little bit more if we had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio so guys focused on it a lot more and it helped us tonight.”
It may also have had something to do with coming off a humbling loss to Georgetown and let’s not forget the embarrassment of the loss to the Pilots last year in the opener.
“We circled this game on our calendar too”, said Thomas and added that it was also, “After the Georgetown game that we lost and we wanted to come back and play hard and play together”.
Portland knew they were in trouble at halftime with a 30 point deficit 47-17. Abdul Gaddy, who started the game, had 3 fouls in the first half which led him to an early seat on the bench. Thomas penetrated the ball to the lane and found the open man all game finishing with 16 points, 8 assists and 1 steal. With the likes of Elston Turner, Suggs, Venoy Overton benefiting from open shots due to the penetration, Thomas controlled the game with poise.
Scott especially seemed to be where the action was against the Pilots and the game seemed to me to be rite of passage to the tall, skinny kid from St. Louis, MO. It seemed when UW needed a big play Suggs was there, as if on cue. Pondexter said that Suggs performed well.
“Scott is a good player. He’s still learning. He’s still kind of young. For him to do what he did off the bench tonight was great for us.”
The second half started off lackadaisical for the Dawgs, but just for the first couple minutes. Portland Head Coach Eric Reveno felt that the challenge that he laid down at half-time achieved a response, but the Huskies answered with what was needed to insure this convincing win.
“We switched to man more exclusively in the second half, and we just challenged them to guard, and they did. We took better care of the ball at times. The transition defense and the rebounds is really what kept hurting us.”
Scott Suggs decided he wanted to fill the shoes that Romar was talking about and put on a nice second half performance, putting the ball on the ground, hustling, playing defense. Suggs opened some nay-bobs eyes tonight. Quincy said that Scott did fill that needed role.
“I think we’ve been waiting for someone to step up from that group of players and he did a great job tonight.”
Pondexter constantly is hitting his baseline fall away jumper now, which is a very tough shot to defend, with his elevation. Portland had no answer for Q or any Dawg on the court on Saturday night, but the Huskies will need a performance like they had tonight in every game to get themselves a 2nd straight Pac-10 crown and any kind of high level success in the big dance.
The only negative you can take out of today, is that the Huskies still need a better effort from their big men on the offensive end. The majority of the points came from the guards. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant, Clarence Trent and Tyreese Breshers combined for 20 points and 17 boards, which are adequate numbers, but there was a lack of impressive play down low with the ball. All four of Gant’s and Trent’s field goals were open jump shots on the wing.
Matthew had a solid game with 7 points, 7 boards, an assist and a block, but it would be nice to see him get more opportunities down on the low block and instead of going 3-7 from the field, perhaps taking 12-15 shots and scoring 13-15 points in close. I think that a dependable threat on the low block, playing back to the basket opens up a lot of opportunities for others.
Overall though this was a great win for UW. With a performance like this tonight the confidence level should be high for the Dawgs’ Tuesday showdown with Big-12 opponent Texas A+M. In order for Washington to prove they belong in the national spotlight and to best prepare their NCAA resume, it is truly a must win.
The Dawgs will play Texas A+M Tuesday night at 8PM (PST) on FSN.
Though we’ve been hard on the young freshman Abdul, Gaddy has yet shown he deserves major minutes. He has trouble keeping mediocre guards in front of him and has yet to prove anything on the offensive end. His ability to see the court is one of a kind though. Gaddy will just need some more time to see how the offense works and things will likely pick up in a big way.
Washington’s big man issue is still obvious. If the Huskies can shoot in every game the way they did tonight then all will be good, but let’s face it, this team will not shoot like that every night and a big will need to step up who can get the put backs and grind out points down low.
Scott Suggs looked pretty good tonight. Best game of his career and he didn’t force anything, plus he moved his feet well on defense.
The Dawgs had only 11 turnovers. The guards handled the ball real well.
Clarence Trent came in the later part of the game and got 2 quick buckets and a nice pass that could’ve been an assist but the player got fouled going up.
Overall it was a good vibe today for the team and the fans.
Here’s the official box score.